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May 30, 2012

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Games of May 29

by Kevin Goldstein

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Jared Mitchell, OF, White Sox (Double-A Birmingham): 2-for-4, HR (4), R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K

Mitchell was the rare raw college player when he was selected in the first round of the 2009 draft, and he was put even further behind the development curve by missing all of 2010 with an ankle injury, and then hitting just .222/.304/.377 at High-A Winston-Salem last year with 183 strikeouts. He's still a monster athlete, and a system desperate for good news is getting it this year, as Mitchell is still striking out a ton with 55 in 167 at-bats, but he's also
turned into a secondary skills machine with 35 walks, 11 stolen bases and 20 of his 49 hits going for extra bases. Currently at .293/.424/.503 in a very tough offensive environment, the batting average is not sustainable, but he just might do enough around it to matter.

Others Of Note:

  • Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies (High-A Clearwater): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 9 K. Has allowed just three earned runs over 26.2 innings in last four starts; 2.86 ERA with 52 Ks in 50.1 innings.
  • Clayton Blackburn, LHP, Giants (Low-A Augusta): 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K. Plus sinker with outstanding control; 3.63 ERA with 56 Ks, 9 BB in 44.2 innings.
  • A.J. Cole, RHP, Athletics (Low-A Burlington): 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 7 K. First encouraging start for big arm acquired from Washington who has been plagued by command issues in 2012.
  • Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Angels (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 2-for-3, 2 2B, RBI, BB, SB. 16-for-29 in last seven games and up to .293/.349/.495 overall.
  • Travis D'Arnaud, C, Blue Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas): 3-for-5, 2B, HR (12), 2 RBI. Arguably the hottest prospect in baseball; 13-for-27 with five home runs in last six games and .321/.379/.598 overall.
  • Wilmer Flores, 3B, Mets (High-A St. Lucie): 3-for-4, HR (9), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB. Already has matched last year's home run total and up to .317/.358/.517 in what is looking like a breakout year, at least offensively.
  • Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Astros (Low-A Lexington): 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Repeating High-A to work on game and avoid Lancaster; 2.27 ERA with 53 Ks in 63.1 innings.
  • Scooter Gennett, 2B, Brewers (Double-A Huntsville): 3-for-4, 2B. You're little second baseman who can hit of the day; .317/.364/.433 in 51 games.
  • Jedd Gyorko, 2B/3B, Padres (Triple-A Tucson): 4-for-5, 2B, HR (4), 2 R, 3 RBI, CS. Not slowed down by promotion; .328/.344/.590 in 13 PCL games.
  • Billy Hamilton, SS, Reds (High-A Bakersfield): 1-for-4, BB, 2 SB (54). Not a great day, but c'mon, two more stolen bases.
  • Brad Hand, LHP, Marlins (Triple-A New Orleans): 7.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 10 K. At the very least gives the Marlins a nice insurance policy; 3.43 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 63 innings.
  • Chris Parmelee, 1B, Twins (Triple-A Rochester): 2-for-3, HR (2), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB. Home runs in back-to-back games; .375/.516/.708 in seven games since demotion.
  • Victor Payano, LHP, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 11 K. Career-high strikeouts for massive Dominican lefty; 3.10 ERA and limiting Sally League to .204 average.
  • Ryan Lavarnway, C, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 3-for-4, 2 R, RBI, BB, K. Kind of hitting, but power has shockingly disappeared; .274/.376/.384 in 40 games with 75% of his hits being singles.
  • Chris Reed, LHP, Dodgers (High-A Rancho Cucamonga): 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Coming back slowly from shoulder issue, which doesn't help his case to start over relieve.
  • Corey Spangenberg, 2B, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 2-for-3, 3B, R, RBI, 2 BB, 3 SB. Showing little power and surprisingly little patience, but batting .330 in May after slow start.
  • Blake Swihart, C, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 2-for-4, 2 2B, RBI, K. Numbers are beginning to catch up to outstanding scouting reports with .301/.333/.425 line in May.
  • Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 2-for-3, HR (7), 2 R, RBI, BB. Breakthrough or annual tease? Home runs in three of last four games, 24 total bases in last seven and up to .281/.330/.468 overall.
  • Tony Wolters, SS/2B, Indians (High-A Carolina): 3-for-5, 3 R, 3 RBI, K. Got off to a horrendous start but 16-for-41 (.390) in last ten games; .233/.317/.319 overall.

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

13 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links


How are the reports about Swihart's defense? And what about Lavarnway in that department, any improvement?

May 30, 2012 10:17 AM
rating: 0

Hi Kevin,

Any thoughts on Kevin Rhoderick (AA-Tenn)? He's come along pretty quickly and gets a lot of ground balls. Is he a potential late inning arm for the depleted Cubs' bullpen?

May 30, 2012 10:32 AM
rating: 0

I believe Blackburn is a righty.

May 30, 2012 10:35 AM
rating: 0
Ben F.

I love the MLUs!
Sean Doolittle was promoted to AAA yesterday. His numbers are crazy, but is that just a function of exploiting young hitters or is there really something there?

May 30, 2012 10:51 AM
rating: 0

Sorry if this was asked / discussed before elsewhere, but what is Gyorko's expected position when he comes up? Is he splitting time between 3b and 2b currently?

May 30, 2012 11:29 AM
rating: 0

Is Corey Dickerson on your radar? He's been mashing for Modesto (Cal League, A+).

May 30, 2012 11:53 AM
rating: 0

Kevin, a commenter in Toronto noted Carlos Ruiz as a possible comp for d'Arnaud, citing his body type and hitting style. Any thoughts? Too conservative or about right?

May 30, 2012 12:15 PM
rating: 0


In his age 21, 22, 23 seasons, d'Arnaud had ISO's of .152, .231, and so far in Las Vegas, .263. His BB% has hovered around 7%, and his K-rate is roughly 20% (This is all over his last three seasons). Ruiz never really showed any pop until his age 25 season in AA (17 HR's), but he's always had pretty good BB/K numbers. I don't really know how they compare defensively, but offensively, they have fairly different skill sets. Ruiz has a career slash line of .272/.361/.407, and that OBP feels high for d'Arnaud, and the slugging feels a little low. I can't really comment on body type or hitting style, because I haven't seen either guy extensively, but statistically, they don't really feel comparable.

Again, I am not Kevin.

May 30, 2012 14:21 PM
rating: 2

What is Dwight Gooden's timetable for getting to the Mets? He's been phenomenal at Lynchburg this year.

May 30, 2012 12:29 PM
rating: 0

Taking hitting environment into account how big a jump is it really for Padres batters going from AA San Antonio to AAA Tucson?

May 30, 2012 13:22 PM
rating: 0

Park factors from 2011 per Baseball Think Factory:

Tucson 1.07 .99
San Antonio .96 .85

I've never been to Tuscon but live in San Antonio. The Wolff has a reputation for being a hitters park (I don't know why) but my experience is that the wind is blowing in more often than not and except for a cozy 310 down the LF line, the dimensions are pretty normal: 310, 402, 340.

May 30, 2012 15:27 PM
rating: 0

Hi Kevin... Does Gyorko get promoted soon, given the miserable state of the Padres' offense? In past you mentioned that organizational need was a big factor (i.e. Matt Adams / Lance Berkman etc.). Thanks!

May 30, 2012 14:20 PM
rating: 1

Can this really be classified as a breakout season for Wilmer considering he now has over 1000PA at HiA? I know he's still young, but how much of his offensive improvement is simply due to him getting used to the level? Do scouts see him doing anything different this year that suggests a different approach at the plate?

May 30, 2012 14:46 PM
rating: 0
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